Today's Friendly Friday comes from Marni Arnold, author of the blog Relevant Brokenness. Marni's not afraid to be honest and share her shortcomings—a girl after my own heart! She's very forthcoming about her faith struggles, and she's very insightful about them, as well. Plus she says super nice things about me (no, that's not how she got the guest post. But, you know, if that's something you want to do...).
Make sure you take some time to check her out!
Supported by my husband and some very supportive people in my life, recently I’ve entered counseling for the first time in eighteen years. The only other time I had gone to counseling before was for grief counseling when I was fifteen to help deal with the passing of my grandfather that I was having a hard time handling, as was my mother. She discussed the situation with me considering to go, but she made the ultimate decision “we’d” both go to counseling. Yet, now the tables are turned – and this is completely my own choice to go.
I struggled greatly as a child growing up, and when I was a teenager things didn’t ease up in the least. In fact, all I learned to do was push down anything I ever felt that was painful; and whenever I desired to (or actually did exercise my ability) to talk things out – I was met with resistance in one form or another. Usually, the resistance came in the images of my family, or friends distancing themselves from me. Either way, I walked around deeply wounded inside - and no one ever knew, because honestly that is how I believed I needed to walk around.
I believed people didn’t really want to know me – Marni. So I hid – and have for a very long time.
I’ve carried this belief about me up until very recently…and it has now just started coming to the surface that behaviorally I am a product of what I have allowed into my life; messages (more non-verbal, than verbal, messages) that I am worthless, not worthy of being listened to, and that I sincerely had nothing to offer anyone other than what others expect out of me. Yet, ten times out of ten, I’ve disappointed anyone and everyone (including myself) when I haven’t “measure up” to those standards set down before me.
Connecting this back to my journey of taking steps into counseling now, I am discovering a lot of this is stemming from very close women relationships in my life. From this, I found better connection with boys than I did girls because I was always listened to and understood by boys better – rather than dismissed and torn apart. This kind of mindset has followed me deeply into adulthood, and I’m starting to realize I am created for so much more as a woman; and I need to embrace the creation God made me to be.
This is a very deep struggle for me because of the trust factor with women. It sincerely is difficult to embrace myself completely as a woman because of the fear I will become the very things I have been hurt by with other women. Things like gossip, disappointment, distancing, passive-aggressive attitudes, and desires to persuade me to fit their molds.
How God is helping me through this fear though is calling me into ministry with women, and to seek out relationships with women - and simply trusting Him that He will make all things good concerning myself and women. He has called me to connect, and to also embrace the many things I do enjoy as a woman.
It’s not an easy step to make – but no step God calls us into that tests our faith will be without pain or fear. Faith is not walking in absence of fear or pain; it is walking in the midst of the fear and pain.
I’ve reached a point in my life to walk in this faith and to embrace the truth of who I am completely as a woman, and go for these relationships with women that have terrified me for years.
I am a complete work in progress, and if anything – that is what this struggle in my life has taught me above all else. God is unfolding me as He needs me to – I just need to trust, and have faith, that He knows what He is doing as He is revealing who He made me to be to myself, other women, and this world.
© Marni Arnold, 2011